LOST, in Spain…
So, there I was in Madrid, Spain earlier this year, visiting a friend I hadn’t seen since her company relocated her to the flamenco capital of the world. I arrived confident I’d be able to watch my favorite shows on ABC.com, Veoh, or Hulu, among other sites. So, after spending the day catching up with my BFF, and after calculating the difference in time zones (what time will I have to get up to watch it, you must be joking), I went back to my hotel and proceeded to hook up my laptop and set my alarm, eager to catch the latest episode of Lost.
As I clicked on the episode link on ABC’s site, anxious to see which of the island’s deep, dark secrets would be revealed in this installment, I was greeted not by Josh Holloway in full shirtless glory, but rather a curious little message:
“You appear to be outside the United States or its territories. Due to international rights agreements, we only offer this video to viewers located within the United States and its territories.”
So I quickly went to Veoh and ran into the same obstacle. And then I tried Hulu. And then another site, then another. My desperation far exceeded anything I’ve ever seen from ABC’s most famous housewives. I went to CBS, NBC, Fox, The Weather Channel, just to see if I could get anything at all in English. Anything at all! It was useless. I was not in the right “geographic region”, no I was on the other side of the world!
The realization slammed home. I might as well be in the damn, God-forsaken island, because as long as you’re outside the United States and its territories, you’re in TV purgatory, doing your time till you’re able to move on to TV heaven.
Now, the following is all hypothetical – it never really happened. This is just a make-believe story about how someone in Spain could watch live TV online for free.
So, the next day I complained to my friend about missing this very crucial episode of Lost. She saw how dejected I looked, promptly approached my laptop, and proceeded to enter the atdhe.net URL. Then she simply clicked on the link for ABC. And miracle of miracles! I was watching General Hospital! (Umm, don’t tell anyone). OK, admittedly it was in Spanish but we soon figured out how to change that - I’m not that cultured yet even though she’s been having lessons!
Here is a little video on how to watch free TV online.
So, here’s the deal. I’m not entirely sure it’s legal so don’t tell anyone, but it does work. At the above mentioned site you have several links, including major American TV networks, and you watch live TV with each link.
Now, as Cost Coachette, I’m always on the lookout for great ways to save money and my brain instantly knew I was on to something here. Major cost saving opportunities. So, here I present to you the results of my research into watching TV online.
When you’re outside the US, there are several sites where you get to watch network TV online absolutely free of charge, like ATDHE. The quality is not that great, particularly when you expand to full screen mode, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Some other options are wwiTV and Streamick (free movies on HBO and TNT, plus sports channels like ESPN!), but my hands down favorite is SideReel. Although it’s not live network TV, you get to see the shows you want to see, whenever you want to see them. SideReel provides several links to watch your favorite series online. Some may not work if you’re outside the US, precisely due to “geographic location”, but there are so many links you’re bound to find one that works.
For expats in foreign lands, these are great options. And for those who want to save money on cable at home, why not watch TV online? Let’s say you pay $50 a month for your cable service, which most likely does not include any premium movie channels. That means you pay $600 a year. And what if you’re paying this amount just so you can catch a couple of your favorite series once a week? Sometimes the cost is simply not worth it.
And here’s my uber-fabulous Cost Coachette tip of the day: most TVs today have VGA input, while most computers have VGA output. This means all you have to do is get your hands on the cable that links your computer or laptop to your TV, go to any of the major network sites, Hulu, or Veoh (and in these sites streaming video quality is better), and presto! No need to pay for cable TV anymore.
OK, I now return you to regularly scheduled broadcast TV show.
How to watch Hulu outside the US.